Monday, July 30, 2012

El Paso Youth Handball: Coach Marquez

Coach Lupe Marquez

Lupe Marquez is a handball enthusiast and overall great dude.  He is the founder and head coach of El Paso Youth Handball (EPYH) in El Paso, Texas.  Handball is like racquetball and is played obviously without the racquet and with gloves on both hands.  It can be played on a court of 1-wall, 3-walls or 4-walls.  It is widely recognized as one of the best all around sports for strength, conditioning and flexibility.  The governing body for the sport is the U.S. HandballAssociation.  It is different than the common Olympic sport of team handball.  

Coach Marquez took a few minutes to talk to me about the program, community and future.

Wellinspired (WI):  What is the history of El Paso Youth Handball (EPYH)?

Coach Marquez (CM): EPYH started in 2005 with as many as 20 boys/girls participating ranging in age from 9 to 17.  The goal of EPYH is to introduce the game, share the passion, present opportunities for competition, and to teach good sportsmanship.  That is why handball is the perfect game!

WI:  How has EPYH done in competitions?

CM: We have participated an numerous tournaments that includes events at the USHA Nationals and Worlds.  Some notable results:  
11U Girls National Championship - Lauren Guerra 2007
Age group National Finalists - Angel Marquez 4x; Maleyna Moriel 1x
Sportsmanship awards - Angel Marquez 2005; Maleyna Moriel 2009

WI: Have you received any special recognition for your efforts?

CM:  I received the USHA Sportsmanship award in the 2006 USHA Hall of Fame Championships for my efforts with the youth program.

WI: What is the future of EPYH?

CM: Future is to help maintain handball in their lives through education and begin with a new group of kids starting as young as six and repeat what EPYH has started with the first wave of kids.

WI:  How can those interested in EPYH get more information?

CM:  The team is always looking for new members wanting to try the handball - the perfect game!
My email is and my phone number is 915-892-1336.

Thanks Lupe for your contributions to the El Paso community and local youths through the sport of handball. Some additional spotlights will be posted in the future --- stay tuned!

Some of the EPYH Team (L-R):  Maleyna Moriel, Lauren Guerra, Coach Marquez,   Angel Marquez

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Blog: Mother + Baby Dental Health

Guest Blog:  Dr. Viviana Velez
As we all know, nutrition is a fundamental factor in dental health. Through eating and proper nutrition, we are targeting the best overall body health. Dental health assures proper functioning and health of our teeth and gums and daily nutrition habits play a relevant role. It is pertinent to emphasize that dental health begins from pregnancy because in this first trimester stage (7th pregnancy week), 80 % of calcium transferred to the baby will help the first teeth form, that is why the pregnant women must provide the baby with enough quantity of calcium (1,000 mg per day) and other necessary nutrients. Malnutrition brings a significant deficiency in the appearance of the first teeth (deciduous teeth) and therefore they will be vulnerable to cavities because they have a lower calcium content. For the mother and later the baby, it is important to balance the diet with varied food, high in proteins, iron, calcium and phosphorus; the last one interacts with the calcium to form the bones and teeth. It should be noted that the lack of vitamin D affects the order in which the teeth appear into the mouth, and a low consumption or level of causes a deficiency in their structure, support and function. Vitamin C keeps gum tissue strong and vitamin K controls the loss of blood, both of them keep the gums healthy. Fluoride is recognized for its high anticariogenic potential, chemically, it acts replacing the hydroxide ion of hydroxyapatite crystal of the dental enamel forming fluorapatite. Nowadays, fluoride is found in drinking water (0.7 - 1.2 ppm), in fluorides salt and in other products of massive use like milk and drinks. Consequently, too much calcium intake poses additional problems such as provoking a dental fluorosis (enamel hypoplasia). In addition, we cannot put aside the consumption of vegetable fats; these seem to reduce the cariogenic (cavity forming) activities in foods. An obvious explanation is that fats make a protective barrier on the tooth surface and at the same time they round carbohydrates, avoiding their availability to the opportunistic bacteria. Some fatty acids have an antimicrobial power which generates an impact in the process of formation of bacterial plaque. In the same way fruits such as the apple, pear and banana help us to a maintain a natural and healthy teeth cleanliness.
In summary, as an expecting mother, nutrition is important to not only the mother but also the baby with respect to overall oral health. Try to get plenty of calcium and other key nutrients, as well as vitamin C, D and vitamin K.  Fruits and vegetables are also excellent choices are part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Dr. Viviana Velez is a Dentist with an interest in prevention and overall oral health with focus on children, adolescents, pregnant mothers, special needs and terminal illnesses.  She graduated from Universidad San Gregorio in Portoviejo, Ecuador in 2010, and has been working for the past few years in Rural Care as part of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health.  

Monday, July 16, 2012


After much thought, writing and review, the first Book has been released

It is entitled,  "No Application Required: Cancer, Chemotherapy and Coping"

The book is a compilation of cancer and chemotherapy experiences, facts and suggestions.

The Table of Contents can be viewed here

The Book can be purchased here

Please enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cool As Pitbull: Lillian Lorenzo-Luaces

Lillian Lorenzo-Luaces is a school psychologist in the Miami Dade County Public Schools. She works with pre-kindergarten children screening speech, language, development, and emotional/behavioral areas.  Aside from her successful professional career, she is a breast cancer survivor with an inspiring story to tell. I had the chance to sit down and talk to her about cancer, survival, and life.

Wellinspired (WI): So we met at the Live Strong Summit in 2006 after both recently being in treatment. Tell us a little about your story.

Lillian Lorenzo-Luaces (LLL): In July 2004, I had an abnormal cyst in my breast and it was aspirated and biopsied immediately. It was confirmed to be cancerous and then I had a PET scan shortly thereafter and there was a very suspicious lymph node near my pancreas. I started Taxol, Carboplatin and Herceptin chemotherapy in September 2004, which took 12 weeks. Only major speed bump was my port became infected with staph and I had to take antibiotics. In January 2005, I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction. Fortunately, they didn't find any active cancer during the surgery.

WI: Why the choice to have the bilateral mastectomy?

LLL: The initial biopsy showed that I was ERPR negative yet HER-2 new positive. That data, coupled with the biopsy results, indicated that the chance of the cancer spreading to the other breast was very high. The doctor suggested I consider both; hence, I had them both removed. In February 2005, I started more chemotherapy, which was mostly for preventive measures: Taxotere, Epirubicin and Herceptin. That lasted for about 12 weeks and then I continued with Herceptin for another year until April 2006.

WI: That's great - you finished treatment in April 2006?

LLL: Not exactly! One of the implants became infected in June 2006 so it had to be removed. In December 2006, I had a DIEP flap breast reconstruction on both sides. The surgery took 9.5 hours! I woke up and the first thing I said was, "I'm hungry!" Around the same time, I had a series of genetic tests conducted that showed I was BRCA-1 negative but BRCA-2 positive. Basically, the BRCA-2 positive result meant I had a 70% chance of breast cancer, 26% chance of ovarian cancer and elevated risk of pancreatic, skin and other cancers. Thereafter, I began having transvaginal ultrasounds, pelvic ultrasounds and the doctors were monitoring a tumor marker protein called CA125.

WI: The hits just kept on coming. What happened next?

LLL: In December 2011, after consultation with my doctors, I elected to have a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy; basically they took out my ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Since then, I have been on hormone replacement therapy, which was approved by my doctors since I was ERPR negative.

WI: Wow. We are all thankful you are doing well. How have you managed all of this in terms of support and finances?

LLL: My family has been there every step of the way. My mother has gone and continues to go to every appointment I have. Fortunately, I've had great medical insurance to help defray the costs. I'm guessing the total cost of treatment has been almost a million dollars!

WI: Can you give the readers a bit of detail on how many doctors have been part of your care team?

LLL: I've had an obstetrician/gynecologist, breast surgeon, oncologist, 2 plastic surgeons and an interventional radiologist. The doctors, as well as the nurses and administrators, have been so caring and supportive through all of it.

WI: So now that you have been through all of this, what advice would you give?

LLL: First of all, listen to your body. Second, go and see the doctor if something doesn't feel right. If you think you can't afford it, many states have a sliding scale or similar program to defray the costs. Don't just discard the bills - pay what you can. Remember, your life may be at stake. Third, stay positive. Your attitude will influence not only your outlook but how others interact with you. Next, take proactive measures with your care team. In my case, the proactiveness helped to motivate the doctors and nurses because I refused to have a pity party. Next, some people may pursue a (breast) cancer support group at the local clinic / hospital. For me, I chose not to - it just wasn't for me since I felt as though the group was "heavy" and adding undue stress to an already stressful situation.

WI: What advice would you give to women on losing their breasts (and in your case your ovaries etc.)?

LLL: With my breasts, I realized my life was at stake and saving it was top priority. Plastic surgery is ubiquitous and there are really good options out there. That came secondary, though. With my ovaries, that decision was much more difficult. In the end, at the cost of not having my own children, I still felt it was the best decision to minimize any risk of future cancer (due to being BRCA-2 positive).

WI: How to you stay so strong?

LLL: It's tough. I get "survivors guilt" when I hear stories of people that haven't won their battle. For me, I like to talk about it and try to put everything into proper perspective. After I rationalize everything and quiet the irrational thoughts, I try to keep myself busy. The biggest punchline: don't overthink it! Every cancer patient and survivor can drive themselves crazy with negative self-talk. For instance, with hormone replacement therapy, I started to get headaches and wondered, "do I have cancer again?” Like I mentioned, if you feel like you need to talk it through with someone, start with you family, and then go see your doctor if needed.

WI: What motivates you in life today?

LLL: Above all, my family and my job. I love working with children and families. My family and faith are my motivation to help others. I also have gotten involved with people doing things for young adults with cancer.

WI: That's cool. What are your favorites?

LLL: First Descents organizes adventure trips for young adults with cancer. They taught me that it doesn't matter if you don't know - you can always learn forever. It was so empowering. Also, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which was really the first group that took the initiative to confront the problem of young adult cancers and survivorship.

WI: I'm so grateful for your time today. Thanks so much for sharing your story, expertise and advice with

LLL: You're welcome!  I like to share what I can when I can in the spirit of helping others.